On August 26th, Australian Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies and the Alfred Deakin Institute at Deakin University hosted the book launch for ‘Faith in Freedom: Muslim Immigrant Women Experiences of Domestic Violence’ by Dr Nafiseh Ghafournia. The event was introduced by AAIMS President Professor Shahram Akbarzadeh, who commended Dr Ghafournia’s book for directing attention to a topic that may have been considered ‘taboo’ to discuss not long ago.

Dr Shakira Hussein, performing the role of interlocutor, engaged with Dr Ghafournia on her research journey that brought her to producing ‘Faith in Freedom.’ Dr Ghafournia told the audience of her experience growing up in the ‘oppressive regime’ of Iran, where she was first exposed to seeing women suffer as a result of domestic violence and witnessed them struggle to receive support. In contrast, initially on arrival in Australia, she felt she was in a ‘utopia’ of safety until she discovered that domestic violence is a significant issue here also. This propelled her research to understand the specific way in which Muslim immigrant women experience domestic violence in Australia.

Through providing interviews with women throughout the country, ‘Faith in Freedom’ highlights significant factors which exacerbate domestic violence, such as, immigration policy that makes women dependent on sponsors, Islamophobia, social isolation and inadequate services responses. Religion and spirituality were seen as a source of empowerment for most of the women.

Dr Ghafournia’s research revolves around domestic violence, social policy, gender and immigration. She has published several papers on religion and domestic violence, Islamic feminism, domestic violence policy, immigration policy, culture, domestic violence and intersectionality. Her research provides a powerful voice for women and it was fascinating to hear her insights this week on this issue.

‘Faith and Freedom: Muslim Immigrant Women Experiences of Domestic Violence’ was published recently in the Islamic Studies Series by Melbourne University Publishing. Order a copy here: https://www.mup.com.au/books/faith-in-freedom-paperback-softback

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